Music Business Journal: Beyond Social Media

George Howard
January 5, 2012

The promise of social media, it must be remembered, was to reduce intermediation. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, markets revolved around the direct interaction between buyers and sellers; both conversed, and the result was often a transaction. But with the development of mass manufacturing techniques, the relationship between buyer and seller was riven. Now it was impossible to scale the exchange to an individual conversation. For efficiency, providers had to organize buyers into geographic, demographic, and psychographic clumps. The pre-industrial buyer/seller relationship became, in short, a monologue. The famous Henry Ford quote, "You can have any color Model T you want, so long as it's black," could be apocryphal, but it is emblematic of the end of an era.

As with any power dynamic in which one person controls the message and deprives the other party of a voice, tensions emerged. The customers distrusted the producers and their intermediaries—the marketers and advertisers. The producers were in turn condescending towards their customers, targeting them almost as if they were vapid, mindless, and somewhat irrational entities...

Read more about social media in Berklee's Music Business Journal.